Coronavirus: Hospitality chiefs continue fight to tackle grants cap

Trade groups step up lobbying for businesses missing out on support due to £50,999 rateable value threshold

Marc Crothall, Scottish Tourism Alliance

HOSPITALITY leaders are continuing to push for financial support for businesses with rateable values (RVs) over £50,999 which are excluded from the Scottish Government’s Coronavirus Small Business Grant scheme.

A working group comprising operators and trade groups, including Marc Crothall of the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), Willie Macleod of UK Hospitality, Colin Wilkinson and Stephen Montgomery of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA), Paul Togneri of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) and Seumas MacInnes of Café Gandolfi in Glasgow, held a meeting yesterday (April 21) to continue to press for support for businesses with RVs of £51,000 and above, which are currently “falling in to a gap”. According to the STA, there are currently 2400 tourism businesses in this category which are not currently eligible for grant support.

Under the Scottish Government’s Coronavirus Small Business Grant scheme, set up following a package of financial support for businesses introduced by chancellor Rishi Sunak, a £10,000 grant is available for those receiving the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief and a £25,000 grant is available for the retail, hospitality and leisure sector for rateable values (RVs) between £18,001 and £50,999. But the scheme has been widely criticised for excluding businesses with RVs of £51,000 and above.

The group, which was convened after discussions with tourism secretary Fergus Ewing, aims to “bring forward a more clear and concise demonstration of the magnitude of the problem with a view to the UK Government making available a funding mechanism for businesses who fall into this category”. It is submitting detailed running costs of a range of hospitality businesses in this category to the Scottish Government for submission to the UK Treasury.

With hospitality businesses looking likely to be among the last to exit lockdown, the group said there is a “risk of recovery not happening if businesses with an RV over £51,000 do not get the support they need”.